The other night, I watched the Oscars. My uncle was gracious enough to let me use the TV downstairs for 4 hours, on one condition- I let him borrow my headphones while he watched movies on his computer. How awesome is he? For months, I have been looking forward to the most high-profile awards show in the world. I’ve always loved the show- from admiring the fashions to hearing all the heartfelt speeches, and fantasizing about a time I may go. Here are some thoughts below about this year’s Oscars:
He certainly wasn’t the best host the show, and certainly not the worst. I didn’t like him as much as Ellen DeGeneres or Chris Rock. Some of his jokes definitely fell flat, such as his distasteful quip about O.J. Simpson, and his many microaggressions throughout the show. I did also cringe a bit when he brought in the tourists. I saw the look of panic on everyone’s faces as he mentioned the prank. I did however, love the ongoing feud with Matt Damon.
I played a little prediction game on the Academy website, and I wasn’t too far off from the actual winners. Of course, I predicted a sweep for La La Land, but they didn’t do as well as I would have thought. I correctly predicted Best Actress, Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Animated Film, among others. I was having a discussion with some people yesterday, and they believe that the industry had a huge bias towards La La Land. Of course! It’s a film about THE INDUSTRY. The hype it had definitely took away from other films. Lin Manuel Miranda’s song for Moana– “How Far I’ll Go” was robbed. Many of the people I talked to loved Lion and Captain Fantastic– which were unfortunately shut out at this year’s awards. While Emma Stone is an awesome actress and person, I believe if she were pitted against the women of Hidden Figures (Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, and Taraji P. Henson), she would not have won.
My last thought, is about the Casey Affleck debacle. While he is a fine actor and gave a great performance in Manchester by the Sea, I had mixed feelings about his win. With the history of sexual harassment allegations, his win seemed unfair. While talents such have Nate Parker have had their career destroyed, Casey’s was elevated. The sentiment was subtlety shared by Brie Larson, who has been a staunch advocate of women’s rights, and won Best Actress for a film centered around a sexual predator- Room.
- Best Supporting Actor Nomination– Did you notice Dev Patel’s mother, look at him with pride when his clip flashed across the screen?
- Katherine Johnson– During the introduction of the Best Documentary Feature presentation, the leading ladies of Hidden Figures brought out the real Katherine Johnson on stage, signifying she is no longer hidden. It was a beautiful moment when she received a standing ovation from the audience.
- Michael J. Fox– I loved the segment prior to the presentation for Film Editing, where Seth Rogen reminisced about Michael J. Fox’s influence in Back to the Future. After the video, both men emerged on stage together, and the audience gave Michael a standing ovation.
- Viola Davis Wins– Viola Davis, an amazing actress finally won an Oscar. She is the first Black woman to win an Emmy, Tony, and Oscar for acting. Her speech made me cry, as did everyone else.
- Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney Win Best Adapted Screenplay– One of Moonlight’s three wins, Barry and Alvin paid tribute to minorities and non-binary individuals not represented. It was a beautiful moment.
The win of Moonlight signifies a small shift in Hollywood. The win was historic- it was the first victory for an American Black filmmaker to take home an award, one of the first predominantly black casts, the first LGBT film winner, and the most frugal picture- having been made with a budget of a mere $1.5 million. Sadly this amazing triumph was overshadowed by the mistake by PricewaterhouseCooper. Both La La Land and Moonlight were mistreated during Oscar night. Something that frustrates me is that many people have focused more on the “graciousness” of the La La Land team- namely producer Jordan Horowitz and director Damien Chazelle than congratulating the actual winners. Hopefully in future awards ceremonies, this will be modeled as a lesson for future presenters and the new accountants the Academy will be working with.
ADRIANA, THE CINEMA SOLOIST